"Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers." Tony Robbins sums this up so well!
So HOW do you ask better questions and what questions should you ask in a sales conversation.
Learn more about asking better sales questions!
Your first job is to understand exactly what the problem is and why it exists for this person and in this company. Think of yourself as an investigative journalist. Your job is to ask lots of questions, to get the client talking and to really dig and uncover the logical and emotional reasons that their problem exists. You have to find out the things that they want to tell you … and the things that they are reticent to. Sometimes in this process you actually help them discover more about the problem.
Customers will tell you more so that you can better understand their needs and wants and so better fit the right solution to their problem. Ultimately the better you can fit the solution to them and their problem the happier and more loyal they will be. Also because you have shown them how it fits them and their problem they are far less like to be price sensitive.
I like to start with questions that I already know the answers to or questions that I know are going to be answered with a “yes”. These are closed questions. This helps all parties feel more comfortable and once people have started saying yes … they are more likely to continue and to open up so then you can start to explore a little more.
Once you know more about the company and the person, your next job is to identify the problem(s) the client wants to do something about.
Quantify what this means for them in terms of revenue or cost impact.
Qualify the business impact of the core problem – help them dig into the problem and uncover all aspects. Here are some things to try:
Once you’re comfortable that you understand the problem, the next thing is to get the client thinking about what a great solution might look like. The word “solution” helps uncover the rational things.
I also use the word “success” because the question “What does success look like?” illicits a different reponse and you’re more likely to get some emotional answers to that question.
One of the things that you’re trying to uncover here is really what a great solution is including delivery. What’s the team who’s going to deliver it look like? What help might they need internally in order to deliver this successfully?
You know the problem and you’ve worked on a potential solution with the client. If you see that there’s a fit then now is the time to start exploring that. I don’t give you permission here to start talking about you.
Here are some examples of questions that help with fit:
“So, if we could provide a solution that looked like this <explanation>, what would that mean for you?” and listen.
“So, if we were going to try and implement that type of solution, who might be involved in that implementation?” and listen
“Who are the people that are going to make a decision around this and what’s important to those people?”
Once you have found some items that you can help with – then get more information. I like to use very simple questions here like:
“You mentioned XXXXXX – can you tell me some more about that?”
You want to find out about:
Talk a Little About your Solution
Do this only at the very end and use it to summarise what you have learned. For example:
“We have a XXXX that addresses XXXX concern that you have. It does that by XXXX and XXXX. The next step would be for me to go and put together some more information in a proposal about how XXXX can specifically address your problems and fit your needs.”
Quick check that you know the answers to:
“If there was a solution to ________ problem that we have talked about today, what would an ideal solution look like for you?”
“If there was a solution to ________ problem that we have talked about today, what would an ideal solution look like for your company?”
“If there was a solution to ________ problem that we have talked about today, what would an ideal solution look like for your boss?”
Take some time to stop and summarise your thoughts on:
Make sure you follow up with an email that:
So now you have ALL the questions you need to get to really understand your client and the problem they are interested in solving and what they are likely to want to buy.
Would love to hear about your journey in sales ...